Brown sees himself as riding the surf: “A big political wave is about to break in America, and the Obamacare Democrats are on the wrong side of that wave,” he said Friday. He released a video featuring consumers complaining about the health-care law. He got loud applause when he said, “If we don’t like Obamacare, we can get rid of it.” To thank Brown for jumping in, Rove is putting $600,000 into ads against Shaheen.

Shaheen is no Coakley, though. She’s well organized, a strong fundraiser and has built a solid team. As a former governor, she has deep roots in New Hampshire, and her frequent return visits from Washington are noticed in a state that’s small enough to know if you’re there. She bests other, Republican candidates by more than 10 percent — former State Senator Jim Rubens, former U.S. Senator Bob Smith and conservative activist Karen Testerman. It’s too soon to know how Brown will do against Shaheen. A poll in December by Public Policy Polling showed him trailing her by 4 points.

This pickup opportunity opens one more pathway for Republicans to win the six seats they need to gain the Senate majority.